Just finished with my keynote speech about “Digital Marketing Approach” in Abu Dhabi. Another great event filled with excellent contents and smart attendees. My talk focused more on “Virtually Connecting” since it’s impossible to meet every client in person.
During the event, I asked some of the smartest experienced marketing minds in the audience about their Digital Media Strategy, and I was amazed at how simple their digital strategy was….
Its’ now time for the organizations to embrace the power of digital marketing and understand that it’s the lifeblood of marketing and without a strong digital footprints the company will sink slowly or face sudden death.
One of the latest survey forecast that by 2016, active internet users will surpass 4 Billion. Yet another survey suggests that average educated people own the following, 91% PC/Laptop, 80% Smartphone 47% Tablets, 37% Games Console, 34% Smart TV, 9% Smart Watch, 7% Smart Wristband, 2% none of the above.
This blog is from my talk “Digital Marketing Approach” and I’m highlighting some tips and tricks, I spoke during the event. So entrepreneurs can boost their productivity with these simple tricks. I’m available for a free consultation if your company require, please feel free to contact me to increase your digital footprints.
Content Marketing is the king and it will remain the king. If you haven’t dirtied your hands with a company blog, then do it today. Set up a company blog, and start blogging about your product, service and expertise. If your company doesn’t have the expertise in setting up the blog, I can help you do this free, (Dubai residents only). A blog is a winning addition to your website. And a platform for your employee, reward them to write a blog about their expertise, it can help boost your site’s SEO, set you apart from the competition, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. It’s a win-win situation. at the same time Humanize your blogs, and let your bloggers enjoying writing it. Having a business blog is useless if you don’t regularly create and promote original and sharable content to help prove relevance and therefore rank in search engines.
A share button on your blogs and website is a must, which offer your readers an easy tool to post your content to their social media and other networks, a latest study reveals that once your content is shared on social media other than yourself, the chances of it getting shared by others triples.
Google Plus page, though it’s not as famous as the big three, is an important tool, serious digital marketers should start a G+ page, and optimize your local page to help your business name, phone number, location, and even opening hours show up in Google Maps and Google’s local search results. Additionally, this will help to showcase your images from google plus in your search results.
If you are in google plus, it makes sense to have your optimized data on Yelp, since Apple Maps relay on these feeds for local business results, Apple maps are not active in the UAE, but it could be in near future.
Your SEO experts should always include Geo-specific keywords, such as your city, neighborhood, emirates, street address and most importantly, your Makani code in all your website contents, blogs and when you post anything in social media, location tagging is must.
Promote your blogs, company news, product launches in social media network, not just once, be creative to re-post these in a different way as engaging images, quotes, as an attractive teaser, or questions in order to regenerate more engagements. Your copy-writing skills can be put to test when you re-post your old contents. One content can be re-posted with more than 100 possible ways, so experiment.
Backlinks, how many of you are aware that this is serious tool for credibility of your contents, get backlinks from influencers and your industry-related websites. The ideal is to get bloggers from your region who are already established, to blog about your products and services. Make sure your backlinks are not harmful for your search optimization, Google Algorithm is constantly changing. Avoid getting penalized by Google, don’t be backlink greedy, be smart. A golden tip, assign a staff to spend few hours in Quora and Yahoo Answers and answer questions related to your industry and that which is relative to your expertise.
Reviews is another trusted tool, on an average a smart internet users will check your company reviews before they choose your business. Even a prospecting candidate will check about your company before applying for a job. Additionally, positive review ranks high in search engine results. Don’t just delete your bad/ negative comments from your social media, address them professionally and solve their issues, resolve the issue in open conversation, not personal inboxes, let the world know that you care for your customers.
Once you receive positive reviews, promote them on your website and social media sites so that consumers who search for your business on social sites or local directories see the great things others say about your business.
The greatest secret in the media is public relations Your potential customers are most interested in the value added information that will help them succeed in a given area, not in hearing promotional information from you. Hire a in-house PR specialist or seek service of PR Agency.
Images can help sell your business, and they also rank in search engines. Don’t name your images “anything.jpg or image1.jpg,” instead name them more descriptively, add ALT text, a caption on your website to help images show up in search results. Let your designer and SEO expert optimize the images with all relevant details within the image, using exif data editing.
And in desperate attempt don’t use images from google search as most of them are copyrighted, and believe me, it’s a trap, which will haunt you forever and the company credibility is at stake. Image owners have the tools to see where their images are used, don’t STEAL an image. Invest in stock images, they are cheap. See my microstock blog to see where you can buy images.
Identify and follow the rules of Bing, Yahoo!, and Google search ads before running your campaign as all have slightly different formats. Also never assume one image size will fit all your social media channels, be serious and optimize images for each social network. Never forget 92% of your social users will see your posts in their news feed, so better be presentable.
Optimize the URL displayed in your search ad so that it’s relevant to the product or service you are promoting. Always use short url services, I personally use bitly and they offer a custom url option for free. And it’s easier to track, there are several url shortening services, but I personally like bitly.
Facebook advertising can deliver the cheapest CPM’s in online marketing with the ability to test ad efficiency in real-time. Use the power editor “duplicate” tool to create hundreds of ads and change one element per ad. Give these a small budget, and you’ll quickly see what works and what doesn’t without breaking the bank. Also, Google Adwords gives you the freedom to create any number of ads in a campaign. If you’re running a campaign with a dozen keywords and only have one ad, then you’re throwing money away. Create specific ad groups that target single keywords. Then create two to three ads for that one keyword. See which ad works best, then run with it.
Include target keywords in your headlines and match or closely match the keywords you bid on in order to boost the chance that your ad appears for those terms. Be very smart and creative and indulge in lots of tests.
Write strong calls to action for your search ads and all other posts, offer some freebies or trails include them in your call for action texts. Make sure that your call for action texts directly state what you want consumers to do or what they want. Always use tracking numbers or tracking services so you can identify your best serving ads.
The limited texts provided by the ad networks, don’t spend them to write about your company name, instead use texts which can attract your users, your company name should already be in your optimized URL.
Follow not so strict grammar in your headlines and texts, but never go crazy with all Caps, and don’t forget to capitalize the first letter of major words. You should be able to explain your service/solution/products in one sentence.
Due to the limited text characters available, never use unknown abbreviations, your abbreviations doesn’t make sense for outsiders, and you might fail to convey your message. That’s the beauty of limited texts, so be very creative while writing the ad headlines.
When was your website last updated, does your website meet today’s best practices and web standards, is it optimized, do you have a clean modern design. During my decade of experience developing websites the most challenging aspect was to convince the clients that design a site how the end users wants, not how you personally want it. Are you looking for free website assessment? I would me more than happy to provide free assessment of your website, contact me today.
Your website first and foremost should be mobile friendly. In my current job and freelance works, I have witnessed that mobile users surpass your desktop users. Invest and optimize a mobile compliant site or opt for a responsive website. The current search study suggest that 80% of mobile searches end up in conversation. Are you ready to ignore this big audience?
Make sure all your website pages have accurate and complete metadata. (descriptions, tags, etc), if you take it lightly, your organic search would suffer and in future it will affect your paid search too. The landing page should be collection of pages, not one home page, design your website and landing page with end users in mind. Break down information and details.
When it comes to social media, it’s not just posting a number of posts on a daily basis and sit ideal, and wait for conversions, the real process of social media marketing starts after you posts. Before you post don’t be in hurry, think, review, and review again and strategize before you make a social media post or comment.
Don’t just tweet out stuff about your company. Engage with other companies, your customers and thought leaders in your market. Retweet their tweets and add your thoughts.
Don’t forget it is going to be really hard to take back a social mistake once it’s been posted, and as explained earlier, understand that one image doesn’t fit all networks, so take time to optimize for each channel. Don’t be confined to the big 3 (facebook, Instagram and twitter) incorporate other social media platforms like YouTube, Pintrest, FourSquare, GooglePlus, fliker LinkdeIn Company page, and etc. Every network as its own advantage. Have you ever thought of using, whatsapp, and other messaging apps as your digital marketing tool, watch for my next blog about whatsapp has digital marketing tool. Another important tip, don’t post same content in all social channel at the same time, at every given point of time let your social media channel have different information. In short refrain from auto posting from one network to other, instead plan and post. Strongly suggest use hootsuite for posting and scheduling.
Don’t ignore your staff, engage them since your employees also represent your brand, both in person and online, implement a social media policy that at the least permits them from sharing internal information and also reward them for their contributions. More than ever educate them of social media dos and don’ts when they represent your company. Like your employee engage your customers, study them, monitor their profiles and re-share their achievements and utilize their expertise. Make them part of your digital marketing plan.
Don’t jump into a trending hashtag, make sure you know the origin of it. Not doing so can potentially cause social media regrets. Also build your own hashtag, and make sure to add your custom hashtag, location and other keyword and geo specific info in your posts.
Like it or not, you “share” your brand on social media, it becomes public, so be ready to take good and bad comments, Don’t delete bad comment, address it and address it in professional way and in public. Change your attitude towards a bad commenters, they are indeed your genuine follower. Be glad that they took time to post their displeasure. Also make to set up alerts that notify you of new mentions, comments, or messages. Read my blog about google alerts here. I would suggest to use hootsuite as this tool gives you lots of control and ease of work.
Broadcast emails are not effective unless you don’t optimize your mail content and how you present it. Get an immediate lift in email marketing revenue by reducing your subject lines to only one word. Choose that word carefully. It should induce irresistible curiosity, while staying relevant to your message and make sure you have followed all the email marketing standards, failure to do so, your domain and IP can get blocked by ISP and by Spamhaus Projects.
Create relevancy content use facebook fan page to promote key contents from your email newsletter.To wrap up the blog, I will give one liner tips and you can always email me for more details or follow my blog to keep you updated.
Join the right conversations and the right time.
Improve search spending ROI by using down-funnel data.
Analyzie your data, don’t let the data sit in your server’s hard disk. Make use of it.
Invest in social media. It’s not free, allocate some budgets for social media.
Insert re-tweet buttons into PDF files and presentation files.
Engage in online communities as a person first, as a marketer second, be active in forums and communities where your target audience frequent.
Use Google keyword tool to learn how customers describe your products/services Also use google keyword planner and use third party apps like spyfu keyword research and keyword value.
Optimize all your content for search, be aware that everything goes on website should be searchable.
Use Google webmasters tools and follow the suggestions. Additionally test your website speed for every page using (google page speed, GTMetrix) and fix the errors and optimize the suggestions.
If you are on a shared hosting, invest for a dedicated IP, and if you are hosted on a VPS or dedicated servers optimize the server. Again I can offer free consultation on web server management.
Build community for your end users first, monetize later. And let your members decide how they want to use “their” community. Provide your community something that is personally beneficial to them.
Stop self-promotions on social media and avoid promoting your boss to be in his good books. Suggest a micro site for company CEO and highlight his/her achievement and limit all other promotions to this microsite.
Set goals, measure, and test and follow up. Test again, Identify your outcomes.
Set a Social media guidelines for your company and staff and make it easy and short, don’t scare them.
Be organized internally to effectively manage social media externally, reduce protocols and give them an edge to answer quickly without getting your permission for everything. Take a cue from Dubai Police, RTA Dubai and Etisalat (I adore the way they interact and use social media).
Invest on videos, make several versions of same video, and post them to all social network, In online video, be mindful of people’s time, attention and surroundings.
Use traceable links to measure success.
Use Social Media to Engage With Your Email Subscribers.
Ask Your Audience, Listen First and Never Stop Listening.
Share Content That Resonates With Your Audience.
Distribute Your Blog Content to the Most Popular Groups on LinkedIn and strictly integrate Social Media Best Practices.
Altaf Hussein is the Founder of Ci CORP a digital innovation company based in Dubai, certified digital marketer, graphic designer & photographer. He also believes in knowledge transfer and that's the reason he is been contributing articles to our site about his expertise.